Blogs & Online Sources

Blogs & Online Sources: arts assessments

2019 MAEIA Institute

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment   

The Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project offers the MAEIA Institute, a concise professional learning offering which trains administrators-arts educator pairs how to support and measure growth in the arts disciplines.

The Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project offers the MAEIA Institute, a concise professional learning offering which trains administrators-arts educator pairs how to support and measure growth in the arts disciplines.

Click here for more information: MAEIAInstitute2019_flyer-final

Continue Reading
Martin Argyroglo, “Adrian Villar Rojas -Where the slaves live © Fondation Louis Vuitton,” photograph, Forgemind Archimedia, Licensed for noncommercial use under Creative Commons.

Debra Henning: What’s In A Word? Cross-Curricular Instruction and Assessment in the Arts

Debra Henning    Leave a Comment   

The following post offers an example of the manner in which MAEIA’s “Cross-Curricular Connections Assessment,” V.T 312 for Grade 8, can encourage students to think deeply about connections between the visual...

The following post offers an example of the manner in which MAEIA’s “Cross-Curricular Connections Assessment,” V.T 312 for Grade 8, can encourage students to think deeply about connections between the visual arts and language. In the assessment, students are asked to create an artwork that connects the principles and subject matter of another academic subject of their choice to the visual arts. The assessment item assesses several visual arts standards, including students’ ability to “effectively analyze and describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in school are interrelated with the visual arts, as well as their ability to “relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.”

Martin Argyroglo, “Adrian Villar Rojas -Where the slaves live © Fondation Louis Vuitton,” photograph, Forgemind Archimedia, Licensed for noncommercial use under Creative Commons.

A picture, we know, is worth a thousands words. But what’s the worth of a word?  That depends, of course, on the word. Does it refer to a specific object, such as the tallest building in the world, or to something more general, as the word buildings does?  In the vast hierarchy of words – call them concepts, if you like – few words encompass more meaning than vernacular. Commonly defined as “the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region,” the word, vernacular stands in contrast to literary or cultured language, most frequently to Latin. Carried throughout the Great Roman Empire, the Latin language served as a unifying force in law and religion, yet less so in the everyday lives of the people, who continued to find linguistic expression in their own mother-tongue.  In a slow give-and-take process, aided by the translation of the Bible into English and by patriotic stirrings, the vernacular would emerge supreme as the mother-tongue in England, France, and Germany grew from spoken dialects into full-fledged languages, “adequate for the expression of any and every kind of thought.”

In the centuries-long evolution of language, however, the meaning of vernacular, itself, became something quite different from its origins. Which is why Adrian Villar Rojas’ sculpture, “Where the Slaves Live” makes such an intriguing subject for cross-curricular instruction in the arts.  The title of the massive “living sculpture,” composed of multiple layers of earth and manufactured materials, recalls the Latin root of the word vernacular, i.e., verna, meaning a home-born slave, and, hence, language of the home-born slave.

Like the sculpture commissioned by France’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, Roja’s concept for the sculpture layers multiple meanings. “Where the Slaves Lives” confronts visitors with a silent reminder of France’s vacillating opposition to slavery, which the French abolished, re-established, and in 1848 again re-abolished in her colonies. On the terrace of  Frank Gehry’s magnificent glass ship, Rojas’s sculpture recalls the ships that carried slaves and the fate of many at sea.

Set in a building that is synonymous with wealth, privilege, and luxury goods, Rojas’ work has the potential to stir the kind of debate and reflection intended by the mission of Fondation Louis Vuitton. By using the word as Rojas does – as a reminder that in verna  and vernacular, slavery is at the core of  the French language and the mission of   L’ Academie Francaise – the artist ramps up the potential for debate and reflection.  Today, one of the aims of the Academie is to “protect the French language from foreign, notably ‘Anglo-Saxon’ invasions,” but that goal has not always been central to its mission. Since its founding in 1635, the Academie has been tasked with a much more fundamental aim: to guide the French language from “from the vulgar (or vernacular) state of language to that of language equal in dignity to Latin.”  As used by the Academie, the words vulgar and vernacular become synonymous, both meaning “the common or usual language of a country; both obscuring the meaning of verna – a home-born slave. In “Where the Slaves Live,” Roja recovers the origins of vernacular, while delivering a powerful message about the hidden history of language and the importance of cross-curricular instruction. 

The Fondation Louis Vuitton,
Designed by the Canadian-American Architect, Frank Gehry and Located in Paris, France
Iwan Baan, Frank Gehry – Fondation Louis Vuitton, 2014, Photo 12, Forgemind Archmedia

Debra Henning is a MAEIA key communicator, specializing in visual arts and arts integration. A downloadable pdf of this post is available here Debra Henning: What’s In a Word? Cross-Curricular Instruction and Assessment in the Arts.

 

Continue Reading

Cheryl L. Poole: A Value of a Rubric to the Teaching Artist……and Where to Find One

Cheryl Poole    Leave a Comment   

If someone wants something from me—a product or a performance—I’ve always been someone to do my best to deliver whatever is expected. The one caveat is that I need to be clear...

If someone wants something from me—a product or a performance—I’ve always been someone to do my best to deliver whatever is expected. The one caveat is that I need to be clear about what’s expected before I have a shot at delivering. Sometimes I’m shy about asking for an example or a very detailed description, but that’s the best way to ensure that I get it right. That is the purpose of a rubric, i.e. to be clear about what is expected and to ensure the best chance of delivering. However, a rubric goes a couple steps further. It provides some insights to a performance or product if it isn’t quite perfect. It helps to identify the characteristics of a performance that falls short of exemplary.

Rubrics have most recently been used by teachers in traditional classroom settings. How often is it used by teachers in nontraditional settings? For example, how often do teaching artists or instructors in community organizations use the tool that will make their expectations as transparent as possible for students? What gets in the way of their using them even if the benefit is quite clear?

The teaching artist might find the creation of rubrics a bit overwhelming especially if teaching is only a small part of their overall professional role. To create a rubric an artist/instructor must reflect first on exactly how he/she will recognize a high quality performance. That reflection then has to be articulated in descriptive words that a student will understand. While obviously beneficial to determine and articulate the description ahead of time, the visiting artist might well find creating a rubric from scratch to be a large expense of time.

Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment (MAEIA) provides already-created rubrics with each and every one of its 360+ assessments. They are free and easily accessible through maeia-artsednetwork.org. It’s important to recognize that the MAEIA rubrics are created to specifically align with the assessment with which it is listed. While all 360+ rubrics are well written by Michigan educators, they are not generic in nature. However, they do provide a starting point for the visiting artist who may not have the time or inclination to learn the skill of creating a rubric.

To locate an appropriate MAEIA rubric, a teaching artist or instructor would first search the assessment catalogue on maeia-artsednetwork.org in the major discipline about which they are teaching; dance, music, theater and visual arts. The list can be filtered down further by grade level. A long list of assessments appear on the screen. The teaching artist can click on and review each assessment that peaks their interest or relates to the skills on which the artist/instructor and the student(s) are working. After finding and clicking on an appropriate assessment, a rubric is visible that was created for that particular assessment. It is an easy and free access to a large range of already-created rubrics.

An easily-accessible rubric does not guarantee that is will fit exactly with the performance or product expectations of the teaching artist. It is only a carefully created articulation of outcomes in a table form. The indicators on the left may need to change or be eliminated altogether. The descriptions of each quality level may also need to be tweaked. Both indicators and quality descriptors will need to reflect the expectations of the teaching artist who is doing the teaching.

In summary, even a non-traditional teacher like a teaching artist or studio instructor can clarify the expectations that they have for their students by using a rubric. They can help the student understand what they are seeking and what it looks like to do well. A teacher serving in a non-traditional role doesn’t need to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of starting from scratch to create a rubric. Hundreds of rubrics are posted with associated assessments on maeia-artsednetwork.org. The critical issue is to find one that most closely aligns with your instruction and expected performance or outcomes. That may take a bit of work using the search feature in the assessment catalogue but, once one is found, it is totally permissible to download it and revise it in ways that fit your expectations of your students.

Cheryl L. Poole is an educator with more than 40 years of experience in visual arts, museum administration and facilitating professional learning. She has had the pleasure of working with educators in the MAEIA project over the last 6 years.

A downloadable pdf of this article is available here: Cheryl L. Poole A Value of a Rubric.

Continue Reading

Margaret Thiele: Go Get Lost!

Margaret Thiele    Leave a Comment   

I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not...

I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not only requires moving all my earthly possessions, but it also means finding new doctors, dentists, stores and more. While the internet is great, and I do have navigation systems on my phone and in my car that will lead me directly to where I want to go, I have found that if I just get in my car and take the risk of getting lost, I learn so much more about the area.

For one thing, I find new ways to get home, which is definitely helpful with summer construction and detours that seem to pop up all over. But even more helpful, I find new sites worthy of investigation such an amazing park, an interesting boutique, intriguing eateries, or other helpful businesses to keep in mind for future needs—such as a shop where I can get my bicycle repaired. It does require more time than if I used my GPS and travel the direct route, however, I never really realized how helpful it could be to get lost.

The MAEIA Connection
When it comes to exploring the MAEIA website, it helps to just go get lost. The MAEIA website provides an excellent search engine for locating exactly what you need for an assessment, such as: the specific concept, discipline, grade level, or Content Standard. In addition, you can do a keyword search if you are only vaguely sure of what you want in an assessment. But, to become really familiar with the assessments I recommend getting lost.

Just dive in and start reading through the assessments. You will always be able to find your way back to the home page, no problem. You certainly will become more familiar with assessments in order to answer questions and guide participants when conducting a face-to-face.

You will likely find many other helpful items along the way, such as: ideas for teaching that you might want to modify for a different grade or discipline, ideas for integrating other topics/disciplines into your own teaching or for assisting classroom teachers, or maybe an assessment to keep in mind for future reference—when you try out that new unit you have been thinking about.

It will take a time commitment, and if you don’t have the time at the moment you can always take the direct route with the easy navigation tools at the top of the Browse MAEIA Model Assessments page. However, if you take the time to explore, you will find it to be time well spent. So go ahead, just get lost!

A downloadable pdf of this article is available here MThiele_GoGetLost.

Continue Reading

Margaret Thiele: Having Fun with the MAEIA Assessments

Margaret Thiele    Leave a Comment   

Last year I participated in the field-testing for the MAEIA Assessments for elementary music. In that role my focus was on the assessments themselves, the length of time it took to administer them, if they...

Last year I participated in the field-testing for the MAEIA Assessments for elementary music. In that role my focus was on the assessments themselves, the length of time it took to administer them, if they were grade level appropriate, and how well they worked to assess the concepts.

This year, I used the assessments but with a different focus—how could the assessment help me teach a concept in creative ways?

Setting Out
I took the opportunity to become even more familiar with the Catalog of Assessments and looked for assessments that I felt might be appropriate for me to use later in the spring for my third and fourth grade general music classes. Of course the catalog is so easy to navigate, I could quickly narrow down my search to music assessments for grades 3 – 5. Then by going down the list of assessments by title, I could find assessments that would match up with concepts I would be teaching in the spring. I printed out both the teacher and student booklets and set them out by my planning materials so that I had them easily accessible. Then as I sketched out my plans for the school year, determining when different concepts would be taught, I could see how and when the assessments would best fit in with my time line and work them in accordingly.

Choosing the Assessment, Choosing the Songs
For third grade, I ended up selecting the Performance Event M.E202: Singing Partner Songs and an Ostinato. I chose to teach the children the songs Skip to My Lou and Bow Belinda. Knowing the challenge that singing canons and partner songs are for this age group I wanted the students to be very familiar with the songs before attempting the assessments. Therefore, I included movement activities as students sang the songs.

Song 1: Bow Belinda

For Bow Belinda students were divided into two groups, one group found personal space in the room, standing up. These students were to remain in their spots and not travel. Students in group 2 went and stood in front of a partner of their choice. We sang the song and students bowed to one another as they sang, then on the last phrase of the song students were to “find another partner.” But instead of just bowing again as we repeated the song, students explored other non-locomotor motions they could do with a partner such as jump, hop, spin, sway, and many more. They enjoyed coming up with creative ways to move and this kept them thinking and singing the song without tiring.

Song 2: Skip to My Lou

Skip to My Lou comes from the play party tradition of 19th Century Americana. For this song, I had students get with a partner and stand next to them in a circle. I gave each pair of students a small scarf to hold so they could easily identify who were partners. One person, however, was left outside the circle and they skipped around the outside of the circle looking for a partner as we sang the song.

To make this a little easier, I had one student from each pair hold their hand behind them slightly so that the child skipping around could grab it. Then, when they grabbed the hand of someone, the two skipped off together around the circle, while the student who “lost my partner” skipped after them trying to tag the one who had stolen the partner, similar to the game Duck, Duck, Goose. The students loved this game and were willing to keep singing and playing it much longer than I had anticipated. In fact, it was quite hilarious as children became so involved in watching the student skip around the circle that they were oblivious to the fact that their partner had been stolen.

Students enjoyed it so much they asked to play it again the next week.

 

Combining Songs
The following week we put the two songs together. Because they sang both songs so many times putting the two together was rather easy for them. All that was left was to add the Ostinato. Both songs just use a simple I –V – I chord progression, so students sang the root of the chords (Do and Sol1) using the words “Bow” and “Skip.” After having heard the accompaniment for both songs so many times, their ears were well prepared. They also learned to play the Ostinato on the xylophones. So to prepare for the assessment, I assigned 6 students to the xylophones to sing and play the Ostinato.

The remaining students were divided into two groups: one-half singing Bow Belinda, and the other half singing Skip to My Lou. The students took turns singing on all three parts. Once students all had a turn on the three parts, I put them in groups of three. Each group was a given a xylophone and they took turns each one singing one of the parts, still as a class but they were separated from one another, not standing next to other children singing the same part.

Assessment Day
On the day of the assessment I handed out the student booklets and read through the directions explaining the rubrics to students. Students were then put back into their groups of three and given 10 minutes to decide which part each would perform and practice together. When time was up, each group took turns performing for the rest of the class as I videotaped them.

By this point the excitement was tangible; the children were so excited to demonstrate what they could do and be videotaped.

Objective Observation

It just so happened that my administrator dropped-in to observe me on the day of the assessment with one of the classes. We were both impressed by the performances but for different reasons. I was excited to see the children singing their individual part, staying together and on pitch. Children who at the beginning of the year had struggled with singing rounds and canons (evident by placing their hands over their ears as they sang) now stood up, faced the person who was singing the contrasting part and sang out with confidence.

My administrator was impressed that students were given a direction sheet and rubric so that the expectations were clear. She also noted how quiet and engaged students were as each group performed. Finally, she appreciated that the students had an opportunity to complete a self-assessment (Part 3). Later that day, when I ran into my administrator in the hall, she commented on how wonderful she thought the assessment was, how impressed she was with it, and how well the children had performed.

Using this assessment was a great experience. It gave me an opportunity to be more familiar with the MAEIA assessments and appreciate them, not just as an assessment tool for the students, but also as an opportunity to create lessons that incorporated singing, movement and playing instruments, and see their value as an educator evaluation tool.

Creating the learning opportunities that led up to the assessment were fun for me, and the students were excited about a performance opportunity where they could demonstrate their skills.

Margaret Thiele teaches in Dexter Schools and is a MAEIA Leadership Fellow. 

Continue Reading

Professional Learning Resources and Blogs

Have a favorite blog that we have missed? Contact us to share the title!